making space empty room

Making space vs. making money

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move books.

Because I’m getting ready to move in a month, I’ve been using my weekends lately to go through boxes in the garage. Lucky me! I get to decide what stuff I can get rid of that I didn’t bother to unpack after the last move! It is definitely time for a grand purge and making space.

One of the biggest accumulation problems for me has been books. I have approximately ONE MILLION of them packed into small boxes. I didn’t unpack them when I moved a few years ago because my interests have moved on since I acquired most of them, but the idea of parting with them was still something I couldn’t consider.

dr. evil one million books

Now, however, I am ready to move on from the past and say goodbye to the stuff that is weighing me down, literally and figuratively. So I spent a weekend sorting books, remembering them fondly, and then unceremoniously taking six boxes of them to Half Price Books to sell.

The grand total? $43.

It just about sucked the air out of my lungs. Seriously? $43? I spent hundreds of dollars on those books! My sense of righteous indignation came close to spluttering ungracefully out onto the counter, but then a liberating thought took hold: this effort was not about making money. It was about making space. Space to maneuver in my physical environment, and in my mind.

What it amounts to is BAGGAGE. Everyone carries around some amount of it. But what if we didn’t? What if we only carried around what we needed? What we loved? What gives us joy? What if our past wasn’t a burden that we dragged around behind us wherever we went?

So I accepted the $43 and went on my merry way. And honestly, I doubt I will miss those books. At most, when I look at my trimmed down library (after unpacking ALL of my remaining books at the new place and doing another purge if necessary), I will have a thought that goes something like “wow, I used to have so many books, but I don’t even remember what a quarter of them were.”

Another example:

Last week I sold a guitar via Craigslist. As the buyer walked away with it, happy that he had acquired a rarity, I wondered to myself if I could have gotten more for it on eBay. So I exercised my new mantra: it’s not about making money, it’s about making space. The truth? I haven’t played the guitar for more than 15 years. I won’t miss it. I became $100 richer than I was the morning before I sold it, and that guy was happy with his amazing score. Win/win!

So now I’m curious. Where else might I be able to make space in my life? What else is weighing me down? What could I liberate myself from so I can maneuver more freely?

I bet there are a lot of things, real and imagined.

How about you?




If you imagine yourself shuffling through life dragging all of your boxes and stuff behind you, the result is something close to a zombie shamble. I find this amusing and oddly fitting.

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